Polygamy in Mexico as Practiced by
the Mormon Church, 1895-1905
H. Grant Ivins
The history of polygamy in the Mormon Church has long been shrouded in secrecy. Details of this practice
have remain ed hidd en from the time o f its introduc tion by Jo seph Sm ith down to the present. Joseph Smith,
himself, laid the patter n for this secrecy, denying its existence within the Church, while historians of the Utah
Branch maintain that he was practicing and teaching the doctrine for several years before his death.
So effective was this deception that one branch of the Latter Day Saints Church, commonly known as the
Reorganized Church, the branch led by the Prophet’s immediate family, has been able to build a flourishing
organization on the see mingly convin cing basis for a non-polygamous doctrine to which it adheres with great
The pattern of secrecy introduced by Joseph Smith may have been modified at times by the Utah Mormons
when circum stances see med to permit. These patterns admittedly were not often of long duration. Certainly,
during the troublesome times following the passage of the Edmunds-Tucker Act and up to the time Utah
attained Statehood, secrecy was considered vital to the success and, perhaps, to the very survival of the Utah
Church. Since attaining Statehood , howev er, the Chu rch has p rospered and gro wn in m embe rship and in
material wealth, an d it now sta nds on f irm gro und, secu re in its status as a vigorous and successful
organization of devoted and faithful members. Indeed, it appears to enjoy high public esteem in many fields
as manifested by frequent favorable references in the press to its accomplishments both in cultural and
econom ic endeavors.
Achiev emen ts of Mormons in various fields as typified in the Tabernacle Choir, the Brigham Young
University, and business and po litical leaders of national prominence also make it clear that present
conditions no longer justify continued secrecy as to what actually took place during the trying times resulting
in the Woodruff Manifesto, and during the years between the promulgation of that statement and the so-called
Smith Manifesto of 1904.
Certainly the time has come when such secrecy is no longe r vital to the survival or the succ ess of the Church.
The true stand of the Church on the practice of polygamy has never been m ade pub lic. How ever, m any facts
are available and will, no doubt, be assembled by scho lars and p ublished for pub lic consum ption. It wo uld
appear to be the part of wisdom and sound policy for the Ch urch itself to be the first to make known the true
story of polygamy as practiced not only in Utah during the period prior to the migration west, but throughout
the entire Church, including Mexico and Canada.
The confusion existing in the minds of many members of the Church, even among those born in polygamous
families between the years 1890, the date of the Wo odruff Manifesto, and 1904, when the Smith M anifesto
was promulgated, seems justification for publication of the story of polygamy in Mexico. Many of those born
in Mexico have been expose d to exp ressions of doubt, sometimes even to ridicule, as to the legitimacy of the
marriages of their parents. A nd ma ny Chu rch me mbers n ot involv ed directly in this matter have put questions
to me about what transpired in Mexico during the period under discussion.
These questions have been asked of me becau se my father played an important part in the history of the
Morm on Colonies in Mexico between the years 1896 and 1908, during which period he served as Stake
President there. If for no other reason than to record his activities concerning the practice o f po l yg a m y during
this period, some of which has been much misund erstood, fo r these reaso ns, I consid er myse lf justified in
undertaking this task, and I hope it will also be historically valuable.
Much of the story of polygamy, as practiced in Mexico, revolved about my father, although he himself was
not a polygamist. It is a story that could well die with the passing of those who lived through this period.
Some of it is recorded; much must be salvaged from the memories of the ob servers of the inciden ts herein
related. Historians must depend on the spoken word of some of the principal participants, as written records
were often purposely destroyed to protect those involved.
Wha t I here record about an epoch in the history of polygamy in Mexico is written from my memory of
events which took place t h er e . T o su p p le m e nt an d co n fi rm m y recollections of these ev ents I have had access
to the diary kept by my father, and I have not hesitated to refer to his record.
In relating the story, I have at times refrained from the use of names when I thought that the descendants of
those involved might be unduly embarrassed by the facts it is necessary to record. Where the names and
activities of those involved were well known to their fellow citizens I have not considered it a breech of
confidence to men tion them . If I err in this respect, the blame is mine alone. I can only vouch for the accuracy
of what I write.
When the Mo rmon s went into Mexic o to establish permanent colonies there, they did so at the direction of
President John Taylor, and for only one purpose: to find a place where they could practice polygamy without
interference from the governmen t under whose protection they lived. They settled in the northern part of
Mexico as near to the United States as possible, and yet where they could find suitable land on which to carry
out their farming and ranching operations. There were no laws in Mexico prohibiting the practice of
polygamy, and the colonists, as they came to be called, could practice that part of their religion in peace. The
first settlers went into Mexico in 1885, and by the time the Church Presidency decided to organize a Stake
there in 1895, there were six colonies, five in the State of Chihuahua, and one in Sonora.
In the sum mer of 1 895 m y father rec eived a letter from the Church Presiden cy cons isting of Wilfo rd
Woodruff, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, informing him that he had been appointed to act as
President of a Stake to be organized in Mex ico and in structing him to be read y to leave to take up his duties
there after the October conference of that year. Almost incidentally they told him that before he left they
would like to con fer with [h im] abo ut his appo intment.
M y father had performed three missions to Mexico. He was a m embe r of the first M ormo n exped ition to enter
Mexico in 1875. This group had travelled on horseback from St. George, Utah, as far south as the Casa s
Grande Valley, making a report as to the availability of places suitable for colonization. Among other places,
they reported on the suitability of the famous Salt River Valley in Arizona where the Mormons later
established thriving colonies. He had served a mission in the City of Mexico and was later called to act as
President of that mission. (Here it might be said that the oft repeated rumor that he was “banished to Mexico”
to r e m ov e hi m fr o m the political field in Utah and that he was sent to Mexico for the sole purpose of
performing plural m arriages the re are not a ccepted by me mbers o f his families.) He was imminently qualified
to perform a much needed service in the Colonies, and his contribution to the su ccess and the history of these
colonies se ems am ple justification for his app ointme nt.
The story of m y father’s p art in the pra ctice of po lygam y whil e he wa s in Mexic o must b egin with his
interview with the C hurch P residency when h e respon ded to their invitation to meet w ith them. This meeting
took place on Octobe r 5, 1895 in Salt Lake City. After perfunctionary instruction as to the general duties of
the Stake Pre sident he w as told that o ccasiona lly the Presid ency w ould sen d to him in M exico a co uple
bearing a letter instructing him to marry them. He was informed that he would have the authority to perform
this ceremony “for time and eternity” although this “sealing” was usually pe rforme d in one of the temples
of the Church . This unusual au thority was, no doubt, delegated to him because of the great distance of the
Mexican colonies from any temple. It was plainly understood that these marriages were to be performed in
Mexico b ecause it would be against the law to p erform them within the bord ers of the United S tates.
To indicate th e desire on the part of the C hurch P residency to keep th ese mar riages secre t and eve n to
maintain secrecy as to the practice of polygamy, my father told me, “almost in the same breath, George Q.
Cannon said, ‘Now Brother Ivins, if you have occasion to meet Porfio Diaz, President of Mexico, we want
you to tell him that we are NOT practicing polygamy in Mexico.” At a much later date, during the Smoot
Investigation, my father was invited (I use the word advisedly) to come to Washington and testify that they
were not practicing polygamy in Mexico. I use the word “invited” because my father did not g o to
Washington. He told me that he refused to go on two grounds: “It is none of the Senate’s business what the
Morm ons we re doing in Mex ico, and fu rther, I refuse d to perju re myse lf.”
This obsession that secrecy was nec essary at all times dominated the Church for many years, and the conflict
between honesty and the practice of a doctrine prohibited by law was indeed a difficult one for many Church
people and lead ers to resolve. It is even reported, and on very good authority, that within the past fifty years
one of the Presidents of the Church made the statemen t in a meeting of high Church leaders, “I would lie any
t im e to save one of m y brothers.” This view of virtue is no t new to th e Morm on Chu rch, of co urse. Six
hundred years before the time of Christ, Co nfucius is re ported to have ad vocated the lie as a virtu e. I quote
from page 181 of the Rongo, published by Yamano, Tokyo, Japan. “The d uke of Shee informed C onfucius,
saying, ‘Among u s there are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If their father have stolen
sheep they will bear witness to the fact.’ Confucius said, ‘Among us, in our part of the country, those who
are upright are different from this. The father conceals the misconduct of the son, and the son conceals the
misconduct of the father. Uprightness is to be found in this’ “.
Loyalty to family, country or church has often been placed above simple honesty. The long struggle,
amounting to a state of wa r at times, be tween th e Churc h mem bers and their neigh bors, often even the ir
govern ment, made de ception and subterfuge a virtue in their eye s.
Returning n o w to t he m a tt e r o f po l yg a m y in Mexico from the years 1896 to 1908, the years my father served
as Stake Presi dent, l et us look in to the reco rd. In keep ing with th e instruction given to h im durin g his
interview with the Presid ency, be fore assum ing his du ties as Stake P resident, m y father w as freque ntly
confronted with a couple from the United States bearing a letter from the Presidency instructing him to marry
t h em . When such a couple appeared, my father performed the marriage ceremony as instructed. The only
evidence available that these marriages were performed on instruction of the Presidency is the w o r d o f m y
father. While a careful record was kept of all such marriages the letters authorizing them were destroyed, with
the exception of one. This sole letter which was kept by m y father w as, in turn, de stroyed b y him b efore his
death. It was, however, seen by some members of his family.
W e have one written statement made by my fat her as to th e authority by which he performed these plural
marriages. I n 19 3 2 he c ar r ie d on a co r re s po n d en c e w i th a w om a n in M e x ic o w ho h ad m a rr ie d in p o ly g a my
after the Joseph F. Smith Manifesto. This woman had written him regarding the fact that she had been
excomm unicated from the Church. In a letter dated July 5, 193 2 my father w rote this wom an as follows:
I am speaking thus plainly in order that you may know the truth. You have my sympathy.
Nothing that I could d o justly would I refuse to d o. I realize the unfortu nate con dition in
which this has placed you and your family. It is heart-breaking and heart-rending. The
difference between these people (those who performed plural marriages after 1904) and
myself and others is that we acted with authority from the Church. No person who ever
received these ordinances at the hands of men who were authorized has ever been
This written statement conforms fully with what my father has told members of his family repeatedly in
discussing his part in the performance of plural marriages after he was sent to Mexico.
A careful record was kept by my father of all these marriages, the original of which was found in his desk
at the time of his death. When my brother, Antoin e, took this record into the office of President H eber J.
Grant, President Grant said to him, “Take it away, take it away, w e want n othing to do with it.” The record
was returned to Antoine’s office. The next day a messenger was sent from the office of President J. Reuben
Clark with instructions to bring the record to the Preside nt’s office. T he recor d was tur ned ov er to this
messenger, and purportedly now lies in the archives of the Historian’s office.
A copy of this letter or record was made by my brother, the late Stanley S. Ivins, and is now o n depo sit in
the Libra ry of the U tah Historic al Society, w here it is availab le for scrutiny by any interested p erson. Th is
record shows the name, place and date of birth of each party to the marriage and the witnesses to the
ceremony. The information set forth in this discussion is taken from this copy.
A study of this record show s that the first three marriages were performed on June 22, 1897 at Cuidad Juarez,
just across the border from E l Paso, Tex as. All those involved were resid ents of Utah, a nd they remain ed in
Mexico just long enough for the ceremony to be performed. Four more marriages were recorded for the year
1897, three of the m bein g solem ized in Cu idad Juar ez and o ne in Colonia Juarez, headquarters of the Juarez
During 1898 ten marriages are recorded, all of them performed either at Colonia Juarez or Colonia Dublan.
One of these marriages was a “sealing” of a resident couple formerly married for time only an d one was a
plural marriag e of this m an, form erly sealed to his first wife. T he other s even m arriages w ere evide ntly
performed for couples from the United States.
Six marriages w ere recorded in 1 899, all perform ed in the Colon ies. Two of the couples married in this year
were residents o f Mexic o. It is interesting to note that o ne of these ceremonies was performed by A. O.
Woodruff, a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles and son of President Wilford Wo odruff in Colon ia
Only two m arriages w ere perfo rmed in 1900, a nd only two in 19 01, all of which were solemized in the
Colonies, Colonia Juarez and Colonia Dublan. Nine marriages were performed in 1902, eleven in 1903 and
five in 1904, prior to the Smith Manifesto.
At this point it is interesting to coordinate the Mexican plural marriages with the administrations of the three
Presidents in office during the period covered by this discussion. President Woodruff was in office during
the first three yea rs of my father’s ad ministratio n in Mexico, October 1895 to September 1898. From
September 1898 to October 1901, Lorenzo Snow was President, and from that date until April, 1904 when
the last Manifesto was promulgated, President Joseph F. Smith was in office. These dates are important when
an analysis of my father’s record is being considered.
It will be noted that for the three years of the Woodruff administration seventeen marriages are recorded, for
the three years of Lorenzo Snow ’s incumbency four were performed, and during the two and a half years
during which Josep h F. Smith w as in office before issu i ng th e M anifesto thirty-one marriages were
performed, more than half of all those recorded.
This record re veals a con dition we ll know n to all residents of the Mormon Colonies in Mexico: that on the
assumption of office by Joseph F. Smith in 1901 there was a relaxation of the policy of discouraging plural
marriages. Up to 1902 only five of the twenty five marriages recorded can definitely be identified as
performed for residents of the Colonies. From that date to the time of the Smith Manifesto twenty two of the
thirty one couples can definitely be identified as members of local wards. Moreover, there were other plural
marriages performed (not by my father) in the Colonies during this period, well known and acce pted by all
memb ers of the local com munities. I have n o know ledge as to who performed these marriages.
There were also several young men who were on the verge of contracting plural marriages (such things were
not kept secret in the community) when the Smith Manifesto was issued. To my knowledge mo st of these
plans were abandoned. It was generally understood throughout the Colonies that the Smith statemen t in April,
1904 put an end to all authorization of plural marriages throughout the entire Church, and my father, for one,
adhered strictly to this interpretation of the declaration. The fact that all members of the Church in Mexico
did not so adhere to this new policy will be discussed later.
It was never understood by the Mormons in Mexico that the Woodruff Manifesto of September 1890 in any
manner prohibited the practice of polygamy by C hurch mem bers residin g outside the United States. His
statemen t, “ I he r eb y d ec l ar e m y i n te n ti o n t o su b m it to t ho s e l aw s an d to u se m y influence with the members
of the Chu rch ove r which I preside to h ave them do likew ise . . . And I now publicly declare that my advice
to the Latter D ay Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriages forbidden by the law of the land” was
understood to have n o bearing on plura l marriag es contrac ted in cou ntries where no law prohibited the
Those living in M exico w ere not the only ones so interpreting the Wood ruff Manifesto. In his Comprehensive
History of the Chu rch, Brigham H. Roberts quotes a letter written by John W. Taylor at the time o f his
“resignation” from the Council of Twelve in which this concept of the Manifesto is upheld. Roberts says that
Mathias F. Cowley, who resigned from the Council at the same time, wrote a similar letter of “resignation”.
That the mem bers of the Morm on Colo nies in Mexico interpreted the Manifest[o] in this way is evidenced
by the fact that many men of the highest standing, leaders in the community, men who would never have
gone against the advice of the Church leaders, took second and in som e cases a third and fou rth wife during
this period. These marriages were entered into with the full approval of the community, and the plural wives
were given eq ual standin g with the other m embe rs of the ho usehold . Amo ng those outstanding citizens,
whose loyalty to Church authority can [n]ever be questioned, I list the following: Miles P. Romney, Joseph
C. Bently, G eorge C . Naegle , and Edward Eyring, father of the noted scientist, Henry Eyring, Orson P.
Brown, Guy C. Wilson, Helaman Pratt and Henry E. Bowm an. This list could be easily exten ded, bu t it is
ample evidence of the quality of the men engaged in the practice of polygamy, and taking plural wives after
the Woodruff Manifesto.
That the practice carried on in Mexico was known to the General Authorities cannot be doubted. Many of
them visited the Colonies where they could not fail to beco me awa re of what w as going on. A mong th ose
who came to Mexico on official Church business, some o f th e m ma n y t im e s, w er e J o hn W . Taylor, Mathias
F. Cowley, Hyrum Smith, son of Joseph F. Smith, A. Owen Woodruff, son of Wilford W oodruff, He ber J.
Grant, Ama sa M. Ly man, B . H. Rob erts of the C ouncil of S eventy, a nd Presid ent Josep h F. Sm ith. These
men, with few exceptions, preached with fervor the doctrine that plural marriage was a pre-r equisit e to
celestial exaltation. They urged the young men in the Colonies to accept and practice the principle. Many of
them brought pressure to bear on my father to take a second wife, a pressure which he steadfastly resisted.
He once said to me, “The Doctrine and Co venan ts says that tho se to who m the d octrine is revealed should
accept an d practice it. It has never been rev ealed to m e that I shou ld do so.”
As prev iously stated , my fath er alway s assured m ember s of his family that he never performed a marriage
without the full authorizati on of the President of the Church. One incident, known to all members of our
family, illustrates this fact. One evening a man a n d a w o m an a pp e ar e d a t o u r h o m e s a yi n g t h at th e y h a d c o m e
from Salt Lake City for the purpose of being married by him. When asked to show their letter or
authorization, they said they carried no such letter; upon learning that fact, my father informed them that he
could not perform the marriage.
Reference to a similar ca se is mad e in father’s diar y. In recor ding the p roceedin gs of a Stak e Confe rence he ld
at Colon ia Diaz in May, 1900, he referred to a joint meeting of the YMMIA and the YWMIA, at which he
says “Sister (?) Cluff (?) mad e good rem arks.” My br other Antoine , who com piled this diary attaches t he
following footnote, “This question mark doubtless refers to the fact that Pres. Cluff of the BY Academy had
c o m e to Mexico with a Reynolds girl and tried to get father to marry them, which he had refused to do. He
therefore , did not kn ow w hether or not they w ere marr ied.”
A further evidence that my father’s activities in the performance of marriages were approved by the general
authorities of the Ch urch m ay be fo und in th e fact that in O ctober, 19 07, h e was made a member of the
Coun cil of Twelve. The appointment was made by Joseph F. Smith who had issued the proclamation doing
away with plural marriages throughout the entire Church and who had asked John W. Taylor and Mathias
F. Cowley to resign from the Council in October 1905 because they refused to conform to his pronouncement
of 1904. President Smith, with many other m embers of the Presidency and the Cou ncil had long been aware
of what was taking place in Mexico, and the fact of my father’s appointment seems positive proof that the
part he played met with their approval. He was later appointed to the First Presidency of the Church.
It must be recorde d here th at as long as the Mormons remained in Mexico, the difficulties of practicing
p o ly g a my were minimal. All wives making up a polygamous family had equal status in the home and in the
comm unity . At p ublic gath erings all w ives attend ed witho ut emb arrassme nt and w ere accep ted by the ir
neighbors, most of whom were likewise members of polygamous families. Seldom did two wives live in the
s a m e house, b ut each, w ith her own family occupied a separate home. These homes were usually, though not
always, located on the same block.
If ever polygamy had an opportunity to function in a modern western community, it had that opportu nity in
the Mormon Colonies in Mexico. There the secrecy which had prevailed in the United States since the
inception of the pra ctice was n ot necessa ry. No o utside influences were present to inhibit the open and
peaceful practic e; the great majority of the com munity mem bers we re taking p art in wha t was pub licly
proclaimed to be a holy institution dictated by revelation from God. Parents and children alike were proud
of the fact that they were participants in a program which ultimately would exalt them above any who were
unfortunate enough to be unable or unwilling to enter into this holy covenant of celestial marriage.
Fortified by deep religious co nviction, c entered a round th e doctrine of celestial m arriage, which they
interpreted t o m ea n pl u ra l m arriage, members of the communities experienced relatively little marital
conflict, no mo re than oc curs in the a verage m onoga mous fa mily. To those wh o took part in the practice,
polygamy was definitely successful in Mexico.
But when the colonists left Mexico in 1910 and cam e to live in the Un ited States, co nditions im mediate ly
changed. A man could no longer acknowled ge his several wives in public. Sooner or later one had to be
chosen as the recognized wife, while the othe rs were forced to remain in the background without social
standing. Many a wom an, who in Mexico had every social privilege, was now forced into relative obscurity.
Families were disrupted , some of the w ives deserted. Visits of the hu sbands were secret, and the children
were often the objects of whisper ed ridicule . It was a high price to pa y, even fo r the prom ised rewa rd in the
hereafter, a reward , according to their be liefs, not to be shared by wome n of mon ogamo us families.
An interesting in terlude to th e story of P olygam y in Mexico must he re be reco rded, altho ugh it is in no way
connected with the marriages performed there. It does, however, have to do with those solemnized during
the period 1896-1904, the years under discussion herein. This bit of history indicates that Mexico was not
the only place where plural marriages were being performed during this period, and bears out the statement
previou sly made that during the administration of Joseph F. Smith m any Church m embers felt free to enter
into such ma rriages, not only in M exico, but even in the United States.
During the Smoot Investigation in Washington which ran from January 190 4 to February 1907, there
appeared in Colonia Juarez a group of women bringing with them children, most of them mere babies, but
without husbands to accompany them. It was soon common knowledge that these women were in the
Colonies because they cou ld not lega lly live in the United S ta te s a s w i ve s o f th e fa th e rs o f t he ir ch il dr e n. W e
called these new mem bers of ou r comm unity the “ Exiles”. So me of th em w ere kno wn by their marrie d
names, while others were known by such names as “Sister Jones” or “Sister Brown” or “Sister Mae” and
“Sister Peart”, obviou sly not the nam es of their husband s.
It should be no source of embarrassment to the children of those women who openly assumed the names of
their husban ds to reco rd those n ames h ere. Thre e of these w omen were w ives of Joh n W. T aylor, th en a
member of the Council of the Twelve, and two were wives of Joseph E. Rob inson, Pre sident of th e Californ ia
Mission. The Taylor women occupied two of the best houses in the town, two who were sisters, occupying
a large stone home, and the third a smaller stone house in an adjoining block. The two wives of Joseph
Robinson lived together in a very modest home.
W here these women were married was unknown to us, but it was evident that the ceremonies were not
performed in Mexico, for all of them brought babies w ith them w hen they came to live there. It w as eviden t,
too, that the Church lea ders knew of their presence there a nd of their ma rital status. During the time these
women were living in Juarez, President Smith, among other leaders, visited and talked with these women.
It soon became known that the husbands of the “Exiles” were, without exception, men of prominence in the
Church who continued to hold important positions even after their wives had returned to the United States.
It would be quite im possible fo r me to remember the exact date whe n the wom en whom we called “Ex iles”
first came to Juarez, I have therefore, gone to my father’s diary, which h e kept for many years, in search of
s o m e mentio n of th eir presence there. The search proved definitely rewarding, and I here record some of
Under date of February 1903, is found the following: “We invited Apostle T aylor & family, Siste r Morris
& her daughter, & Sister Peart & Cannon to eat wild turkey dinner with us.” This reference is to John W .
Taylor whose three w ives, Nellie, Rhoda and Roxey were living in Juarez. Sister Morris was the mother of
the woman known to us as “ S is te r M a e ”. Sh e wa s t he w if e o f Fr a nk Y . T a yl or , b r ot he r t o J o hn W . Taylor.
Sister Peart was the wife of Jo hn M . Canno n. She w as know n to the pe ople of Ju arez as Sister J ones.” W ith
the exception of John W. Taylor, none of these me n appea red in pu blic with his w ife; as far as I can recall,
and none of the women was ever known in the community by the name of her husband.
Under date of Nov. 12, 1903, we find this entry in the diary, “We started for Son ora this a.m. Nooned (sic)
about 8 miles W. of R amos. Cam ped on the Ja nos River. Our party consisted of Apostle Taylor & wife
Nellie, A p o st le W o od r uf f & w if e A v er y , J n o. M . Cannon & wife, Bp. Bently, wife Maggie & four children,
Sister Cannon’s daughter Marguerite, Sister Eyrin g, Bro. H . Pratt, Guy C. W ilson, Dan Sko usen, Bro. Jos.
C. Dav is & my self & D on LeB aron.”
Here are found the names of two of the women we termed “Exiles”. N e ll ie T ay lo r wa s t he o ld e st of Jo h n W .
Taylor’s three wives who lived in Juarez. John M. Cannon’s wife was “Sister Peart.” Avery, referred to as
the wife of Apostle Woodruff, was known to us as Miss Clark. She had come to Juarez in the fall of 1903
as a teacher at the Juarez Stake Academy, and was not known even by m embers o f our family, with the
possible exception of our father and mother, that she was a married w o m a n , w ife of A. O. Woodruff. She
lived at our home during her stay in Mexic o, and the first intimation that she w as marrie d came as the result
of a visit from her husband. Even after this visit the townspeople did not know that she was married.
The men w ho ope nly ackn owledg e[d] their wives ca me often to visit them and participated in the religious
activities of the community. Those whose wives were living under assumed names, as I have said , never to
m y know ledge, ap peared in public to be recognized . My kno wledge as to the id entity of some o f these men
came a bout by mere ac cident.
M y father and I were travelling by buckboard toward Casas Grandes, the County seat, when we m et a
three-seated “whitetop” carrying three men and three w omen. I recognized the women as members of the
“Exile” group, but had never before seen either of the men. We stopped beside the road, father alighted and
greeted the men by name. He was informed that the group had been on a trip to Mex ico City and were
returning to Juarez. As we continued on our way my father remarked: “I would like to give each of those men
a good kick in the pants and send him scooting back to Utah. I have no objection to polygamy as such, but
I have no respect for men who will com e to Me xico in order to break the laws of the Country where they
claim citizen ship.”
The diary entry of November 19, 1903 is “We started from Oaxaco to Colonia Diaz. We drove to the Las
Varas, Bros. Woodruff and Cannon killed 3 deer.” There is no entry between Monday, November 16 and
Thursday, November 19. But the record of marriages performed by my father contains the following:
George Conrad Naegle. B. at Lehi, Utah October 1, 1860
Philinda Keeler. B at North Kamas, Utah, May 6, 1878
Jennie Dora Jameson. B. at Goshen, Ut. Feb. 15, 1886
Married at Colonia Oaxaca, Nov. 18, 1903. A. O. Woodruff officiating.
These references place the individu als conce rned in M exico in 1 903, just o ne year b efore the Jo seph F. S mith
Manifesto was issued. In this party were the sons of two former presidents of the Church, John W . Taylor,
son of John Taylor, and A. Owen W oodruff, son of President Wilford Woo druff. Both of these men were
members of the Co uncil of Twelve Apostles. John M. Cannon was a son of George Q. Cannon, Councilor
to Wilford Woo druff. A ll three wer e traveling with plural wives to whom they had been married within a few
years of the date of this visit. Avery Clark Woodruff gave birth to her first and on ly child by Woo druff in
The exact dates of these marriages and the names of the m en who perform ed the marriage ceremonies are
unknown to me. My efforts to obtain this information has resulted in complete frustration. Having contacted
s o m e of the childre n resulting from th ese union s I was able to obtain n o th in g m or e t ha n st at em e n ts li ke , “ M y
father always assured members of his families that his marriage to my mother was authorized by the Church
Evidence that the Church authorities did not consider the Woodruff Manifesto a prohibition against plural
marriages, whether in the United States or in other co untries, is abu ndant. In corrobo ration for th is
conclusion, I quote from my father’s diary; under date of Jan. 11, 1911, (He was then a member of the
Council of Twelve Ap ostles):
Spent C h ri st m as a t h o m e. T he ti m e between my arrival home (Dec. 20) & Jan. 7th, I have
been in coun cil with my quorum considering various matters which came before us. The
question of plural marriages was discussed & it was decided that in the cases where plural
marriages were entered into prior to 1904, the parties to such marriages should not be
molested unless they be cases where the interests of the Church were involved. Where men
are in prominence in the Church who have taken plural wives since Pres. Woodruff’s
manife sto, they are to be removed wh ere it can be done without giving unnecessary
Later (see previous page) after our return to Utah, I became acquainted with all three of these men. (Not one
of them was eve r disciplined for his poly gamo us practices .)
This incident ill ustrates a fact well known by members of our family: that my father performed marriages
for those com ing tem porarily in to Mexico from the United States with real reluctance; at times with a feeling
approaching rebellion. Many who knew him have asked how he justified this compliance with instructions
from Church officials, wh ile convin ced that h is doing so was no thing sho rt of a subter fuge to make p ossible
a practice which was contrary to the pronounced policy of the Church, yet, perhaps not in violation of any
United States law. To perform a plural marriage in Mexico could not constitute a breach of U. S. law or of
the Woodruff Manifesto which declared that members of the Church would be urge d not to enter into any
plural marriag es “in viola tion of the la w.” But my father would not quibble about the words, “enter into any
plural marriages.” He considered the spirit of the M anifesto to m ean that p olygam ous ma rital relations sh ould
not be appro ved in the Un ited States.
The answer to this question of my father’s w illingness to perform these marriages sh ould be ob vious to those
who understand the traditional, unquestioning acceptance of t he d ic ta ti on b y t he P re si de n t o f th e Ch u rc h . M y
father was nurtured from ch ildhood on this traditio n. To refu se any “C all” from the Prop het or to fail to obey
any specific instruction from him was next to unthinkable.
When my father was but eight years of age his father’s name was announced from the pulpit as one of a
group “called” to go to Utah’s Dixie for the purpose of establishing a City there. Israel Ivins, his father, had
not been co nsulted reg arding h is willingne ss to unde rtake such an assignm ent, but he accepted it with little
hesitation and immediately disposed of his home and land in Salt Lake City and outfitted himself for
migration to the southla nd. In like s pirit my fa ther accep ted witho ut hesitation a “Call” to go to M exico in
1895, which “Call” made it necessary for him to dispose, at great sacrifice, of his extensive cattle and other
business interests and to abandon a promising career as a leader in political circles in Utah.
This imm ediate and unquestioned acceptance of direction from the head of the Church was only typical of
the faithful m embe rs, and w as, in no w ay, pecu liar to my fa ther. It does, h owev er, explain his willingness
to perform some duties at the direction of the Presidency which he would much rather not have been asked
t o pe r fo r m .
It must be stated here that three principles which influenced my fa ther’s entire life were loyalty to the
TRUTH , loyalty to the Church, and loyalty to the United States. Add to these loyalties--to truth (honesty),
Church, and the United States--a compassion for his fellow man, and we have the motiva ting force s of his
In my many years of intimate association with him I never once observed an act on the part of my father
which could possibly be interpreted as anything but absolute honesty. On one occasion when a call from the
Church leaders seem ed to him to dem and a de parture fro m this co mplete lo yalty to the truth, he ch ose truth
as his course of action. Reference has already been made to his refusal to go to Washington during the Smoot
Investigation to testify that the Mormons were not practicing polygamy in Mexico. How great the inward
struggle resulting in this decision we shall never know.
The performance of plural marriages for couples coming from the United S tates involv ed no ac t of dishon esty
or secrecy on his part, even though he in no way approved of the policy of sending these people to Mexico
for the perfo rmanc e of a Ch urch san ctioned c eremo ny wh ich could not be lawfully performed in the United
States. To those who knew his complete devotion and loyalty to the Church it is a matter of wonder that he
even ch ose to refuse an “invitation” to go to Washington and there testify to an untruth. H e did not choo se
to “lie to save” one of his brothers. He seemed to take at face value the man y stateme nts in Church literature
to the effect that “he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out.” Doc. & Cov. 42:2.
One thing that my father could not forget was that he had been a member of the State Convention which
drafted the Constitution for the State of Utah. That fact made it imperative in his mind that he stand for strict
complianc e with that constitution. A rticle III of that Docum ent states:
The following ordinance shall be irrevocable without the consent of the United States and
the people of this State. First, Perfect toleration of religious sentiment is guaranteed. No
inhabitant of this State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or
her mode of religious worship, but polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.
In a le t te r to t he w o m an to whom we h ave previously referred, as one caught in the web of
post-1904-p olygamy , my father says:
I was a member of the Constitutional Convention and know that this clause was
incorporated in it under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, that we were placed
in the unfortunate condition, we must either discontinue the practice of plural marriage or
be regarded as violators of the law and suffer the consequences of it. The government kept
its word. They restored our property. They restored the franchise to those who had been
deprived of it. The unfortunate condition which followed was that some of these very men
who had been d isfranchised were the first to advocate that the law was no t applicable to
t h em , that they w ould no t obey it, that it was better to obey th e laws of G od than to
recognize the laws of men. And so , those peo ple started a p ropaga nda by which se cretly
and too often by falsehood and deceit plural marriages were continued.
To return no w to the sto ry of the w omen married to men in the Unit ed States who came to Mexico to live
temporarily; in at least two cases, young women sent to teach in the Juarez Stake Academy proved to be
plural wives of men residing in Utah. These women were known by their maid en nam es, and the ir marital
status was unknown to the students an d town speople. It m ay be im portant an d no bre ach of co nfidenc e to
record that one of these teachers proved to be the wife of A. Owen Woodruff, member of the Council of
Twelve Apostles. S he was still living in Juarez, having just completed her year of teaching, when her husband
and his first wife died of smallpox, he in El Paso, Texas, and she in Mexico City, in June, 1904.
Solemnization of plural marriages did not cease even after the Smith Manifesto of 1904. Neither in Utah nor
in M e x ic o di d al l C h u rc h m embers accept President Smith’s pronouncement as authorative. Evidence
indicates, however, that no marriage performed after April, 1904, was officially recognized by the Church.
Although s o m e members of the Council of Twelve were involved in these marriages, the Church has refused
t o re c og n iz e th e m .
It is generally understood and recorded in the Comprehensive History of the Church that the reason for the
dropping of John W. Tay lor and M athias F. C owley from the Council was their refusal to conform to the
edict of the Presidency banning the performance of polygamous marriages throughout the entire Church.
Two incidents known to me illustrate the comp lete confu sion existing at this time: Two young ladies living
in Mex ico were caught u p in this net of co nfusion and und erwent a most distre ssing exp erience as a result.
Both of the inciden ts involving these g irls occurred after 190 4. Both girls were m y personal acq uaintances,
one a close friend of one of my sisters. The other was my own friend at the Juarez Stake Academy.
After a most confusing experience, details of which would seem ridiculous had they not been near the tragic,
one of th ese girls wa s married to Math ias F. Cow ley and b ore him a son. Ye ars later, this women, wishing
to marry a nother m an, appe aled to my father to aid her in obtaining a divorce from Cowley. When my father
presented this matter to the Presidency, he was informed that the woman’s marriage was never recognized
by the Chu rch. Since there wa s no reco rd of a civ il marriage the w o m an w a s m a r ri e d f o r t h e s e co n d ti m e
without either a Church or a civil divorce. Referring to this case, father made the following entry in his diary:
Jan. 25, 1911. I called on ----- -----. She says she was married in Canada by a Patriarch. He
was sick in bed & not expected to live. Bro. Cowley took her to the house and went in,
leaving her on the outside, & told the wife of the sick man he wished a private interview
with her husband. The woman went out and ----- entered. The Patriarch was propped up
in his bed with bandages around his head. H e spoke in a voice so low that sh e could not
hear a word he said. Brother Cowley told her when to say “yes.” After the man finished
she asked Brother Cowle y if that wa s all. He said, “y es.” She th ought it a sin gular w ay to
get married. Later Bro. C warned her to be careful to not violate the covenants she had
entered into. She said she had made no covenants and called attention to the fact that she
did not hear a word of what he, the Patriarch, said.
The second case is similar, e xcept in d etail. The g irl involved in this episod e said that she was married in the
Manti temple to the Bishop of the ward in which she lived in Mexico. She did n ot know the nam e of the “o ld
man” who performed the marriage ceremony, but she was told by him as so on as it wa s over tha t she shou ld
not divulge the fact to an yone. She say s that she becam e suspicious a s to the validity of the marriage and
refused to live with h er new h usband . Years later w hen she w ished to marry a fellow school teacher, she, like
the lady to whom I have previously referred, wrote to my father seeking a Church divorce. She, likewise, was
informed that she ha d never been leg ally marr ied, which , upon lea rning, she proceed ed to marry without
obtaining any kind of a divorce.
A brief entry in the diary refers to this episode:
Sept. 2, 1907 --Sund ay 1st, John W. Taylor came to my office. Had been in communication
with Bp. Bentley--M. F. Cowley. Accused me of connecting him with Bp. ---- case. Said
I wanted to mak e capitol w ith the prese nt Quor um of Apostles b y going to Prest. Sm ith
with story. Would soon be a vacancy to fill in the quorum of Apostles. Evening meeting
with Bently, Wilson, Taylor, Cowley.
This entry refers to the Bishop who took the girl to whom I have referred to the Manti temple and married
Both of the marriages herein narrated took place after the 1904 Manifesto, a fact which cannot be overlooked
in its bearing upon the entire history of polygamy.
A s previously m entioned , while the g reat majo rity of Mo rmon s living in M exico acc epted the Smit h
Manife sto as a prohibition of plural marriages throughout the Church, there were those who refused to
acknowledge this pronounc ement as bind ing on them . Memb ers of this sm all group have con tinued to
practice polyga my in defiance of the announced policy of the Church. Their reasons for refusing to abandon
the practice were based on the sam e argum ents put fo rth by the so-called “ Funda mentalists” who ar e still
carrying on the practice in Utah an d other states.
The basic thesis on which these obje ctors state their case is that polygamy is essential to the highest exaltation
in the Celestial Kingdom, and God would not allow the law of the land to nullify a commandment on which
the very highest exaltation of His children depends. They argue that God could have foreseen the opposition
to this practice, but in spite of this fore-knowledge, saw fit to give the commandment. They refer to the words
of the Boo k of M ormo n Proph et, Neph i, to the effect that God gives no commandment to “the children of
men” unless H e opens the way for its accom plishme nt. This arg umen t they app ly to the practice of polygamy,
accepting the original revelation on this matter as the word of God, but refusing to acknowledge the
pronoun cements of later C hurch leaders.
Reference has already been made to correspondence carried on by my father with a woman involved in
post-1904 polyga my. In h er letter to my father this woman gives her reasons for her belief that she is obeying
God’s commandment by entering into polygamy, and since they represent the “Fundamentalist” point of
view, they may well be quoted somewhat at length. She writes in a letter dated March 13, 1932:
About eighteen years ago, A. D. LeBaron was living with John W. Taylor in his ho m e
south of S. L. City working to help make his young wife more comfortable. After many
serious Gospel con versations, Bro. Taylor gave D ayer a letter to one of th e patriarach s in
that County ad vising him to giv e him thre e revelations that were given to Wilford
Woodruff and his father John Taylor just before the manifesto. If it wasn’t for these sacred
papers I would be very satisfied, but I must tell you all ab out them and if yo u can clea r this
matter up I will be very humble and ap preciative, and will right, so far as it is sensible
every wrong the people think I have do ne. I am t ea r in g a p a ge f ro m a little booklet called
Plural Marriage because it is convenient and I wish you to know that these revelations
caused me to be as I am and are causing more people to pray for the opportunity to live
this law than any other thing. ... Now it is proof positive to me that when the Lord said,
“ m y everlasting coven ants canno t be abrogated nor done away with, b ut they stand
forever,” He knew what He was saying and all saints mu st go back and be w illing to abide
even until death.
W e may assume that one of the revelations to which the author o f this letter refers is an unpublished
document bearing the date, September 27, 1886, and the “revelation” is said to have been g iven to John
Taylor then President of the Church. This revelation, while never presented to the Church members in general
conference, is one of th ose relied u pon by those refu sing to acknowledge the Smith Manifesto as binding on
them. It is worthy of quotation, in full, here.
M y son [John]: you have asked me as concerning the New and Everlasting Covenant and
how far it is binding upon m y peop le. Thus saith the Lord : All comm andm ents that I give
must be obeyed by those calling themselves by m y n am e u nl e ss th e y a r e r e vo k e d b y m e
or by min e authority , and how can I revoke an everlasting covenant, for I the Lord am
everlasting and m y everlastin g Cove nants cannot b e abrogated nor done away with, but
they stand forever.
Have I not given my word in great plainness on this subject? Yet have not great numbers
of my people been negligent i n th e ob s er v an c e o f m y l aw , an d th e ke e pi n g o f m y
comm andmen ts, and yet h ave I bo rn with the m these m any yea rs and this b ecause o f their
weakness, because of the perilous times, and furthermore; It is now pleasing unto me that
men should use their free agency in regard to these ma tters. Nevertheless I, the Lord, do
not c h an g e a n d m y word and my Covena nt and my Law do not; and as I have heretofore
said by my serv ant Josep h, all those w ho wo uld enter in to my g lory mu st and shall obey
And have I not commanded m en that if they be of Abraham’s seed and would enter into
m y glory, they must do the works of Abraham. I have not revoked this law, nor will I, for
it is everlasting and tho se who will enter into my glory mu st obey the conditions thereof.
Even so Amen.
A second unpu blished revelation, entitled, “A Revelation to Wilford Woodruff In the Wilderness, January
26, 1880, is a long and vindictive document in which the Lord swears vengeance on the officials of the
United States government and on the nation as a whole, mentioning specifically, “the presidents of the United
States, the Su preme Court, the Cabinet, th e Senate a nd Ho use of Co ngress of the United States. ...”
A few qu otations from this revelation will serve to indicate how those who have refused to give up the
practice of polyg amy in Mexico u se it as justification for their stand in this matter. Following are some of
The hour is at the door when my wrath and indignation will be poured out upon the wicked
of the nation. ... I have decreed plagues to go forth and waste mine enemies, and not many
years hence they shall not be left to pollute my heritage.
Continuing the warning o f punishm ent to come u pon the enem ies of the Church , this revelation says:
And I say again, woe unto the nation or house or people who s eek to hin der my people
from obeying the patriarchal law of Abraham, which leadeth to celestial glory, which has
been revealed unto m y Saints through the mouth of my servant Joseph, for whosoever
doeth these thing s shall be da mned saith the Lo rd of ho sts, and shall be broken up and
wasted away from under heaven by the judgements which I have sen t forth and which sh all
n o t r e tu r n t o m e void. And thus, with the sword, and by bloodshed, and with famine and
plagues and earthquakes and the thunder of heaven, and the vivid lightning s shall this
nation and the nations of the e arth be mad e to feel the chastening hand of Almighty God
and until they are broken up and destroyed and wasted away from under heaven, and no
power can stay my hand. Therefore, let the w i ck e d t re m b le , le t t h em t h at b la s ph e m e m y
n a m e hold their lips, for destruction will swiftly overtake them. All that I the Lord have
spoken through the mouths of m y prophets and apostles since the world began, concerning
the l as t d i sp e n sa t io n an d fu l ln e ss o f t im e, concerning my Church which has been called
out of the wilderness of darkness and error, concerning the Zion and Kingdom of God and
concerning Babylon the Great, and what I have spoken through the mouth of my servant
Joseph sh all all be fulfilled. And tho ugh heave n and earth pa ss away, my word shall not
pass away, but shall be fulfilled, saith the Lord.
As has been repeatedly mentioned, the Mormons living in Mexico had been so thorou ghly ind octrinated in
the concept that plural marriage was an absolute pre-requisite to the highest exaltation in the celestial
k i ng d o m , a glory tow ard wh ich every Church mem ber shou ld aspire, tha t it was und erstandab ly next to
imposs ible for them to adjust to th e idea that th e Churc h itself, had now prohibited the practice. That the
Church should abandon a “doctrine” fo r w hich the great majority of the older members of the Mormon
communities had left the United States and moved to a “foreign country” was a stunning blo w to old and
young alike. A un iversal strug gle wen t on within the min ds of these colonists. They h ad to cho ose, as it
appeared t o th e m , between their most cherished and most often proclaimed idea of how to obtain exaltation
and a desire to acknowledge the divine source of President Smith’s proclamation doing away with the
practice of polyg amy th rough out the en tire Churc h. It is little wonder that the acce ptance o f this
prono uncem ent was n ot univer sal.
Church leaders ha ve cons istently den ied the au thenticity of the professed revelations to which we have
referred. In a pamphlet issued June 17, 1933, the Presidency, then consisting of Heber J. Grant, A. W. Ivins
(my father) and J. Reuben Clark Jr., say regarding the revelation attributed to John Taylor:
It is alleged that on September 26-27, 1886, President John Taylor received a revelation from the Lord, the
purported text of which is given in publications c ir c ul a te d ap p a re n tl y by o r a t t h e i n st a nc e of th e sa m e
As to the pretended revelation, it should be said that the archives of the Church contain no
such revelation, nor any evidence justifying a belief that any such revelation was ever
given. From the personal know ledge of some of us, from the uniform and common
recollection o f th e pr e si d in g q uo r um s o f t h e C h u rc h , f r om the absence in the Church
archives of any evidence whatsoever justifying any belief that such a revelation was given,
we are justified in affirming that no such revelation ex ists.
In this sam e pamp let we find this stateme nt:
W e affirm as true today and as being true since it was made in 1904, the statement of
President Smith which was endorsed by the General Conference of the Church “that no
such m arriages have been solemnized with the sanction, consent or knowledge of the
Church of Jesus C hrist of Latte r-day Sa ints.”
It is important here to reca ll that the statement of Presiden t Woodru ff the so-called Ma nifesto says:
Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Cong ress forbidding plural marriages, which laws
have [ b ee n ] p r on o u nc e d c o ns ti tu t io n a l b y th e co u rt o f l as t r e so r t, I h e re b y d e cl a re m y
intention to subm it to those law s, and to us e my inf luence w ith the members of the Church
over which I p reside to h a ve th e m do l ik e w is e . . . . . A n d I n o w de c la r e t h at m y advice to
the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriages forbidden by the law of
The statemen t of President Sm ith, made in A pril, 1904, says:
Inasmuch as there are numerous reports in circulation that plural marriages have been
entered into contrary to the official declaration of President Wilford Woodruff of
September 24, 1890, commonly called the Manifesto, which was issued and adopted by
the Church at its General Conference, October 6, 1890, which forbade any marriage
violative of the law of the land, I, Joseph F. Smith, President of the Church o f Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints, do hereby affirm and declare that no such marr iages have been
solemnized with the sanction, consent, or knowledge of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints. And I h ereby an nounc e that all such marriag es are pro hibited an d if any
officer or member of the Church shall assume to solemnize or enter into any such marriage
he will be deemed in transgression against the Church, and will be liable to be dea lt with
a c co r di n g t o th e ru l es a nd r eg u la t io n s t h er e of , a n d e x co m m u n ic a te d th e re f ro m .
It must be emphasized that both statements on the subject of plural marriage--the one by Wilford Wo odruff
and that by Joseph F. Smith--use the terms, “any marriages forbidden by the law” and “pretended marriage
violative o f th e la w o f t h e l an d .” T h at th e m ar r ia g es w er e in v io l at io n o f t h e l aw o f th e la n d s e em s to be the
determining factor as far a s the sanctio n of the C hurch w as conce rned. Bu t the interpretatio n of the two
statemen ts seems to have been quite different; in the case of the Woodruff Manifesto marriages outside the
United States, in countries where there was no law prohibiting polygamy were in no way affected by the new
Church policy. On the other hand, the Smith Manifesto was interpreted by Church authorities as banning the
practice of polyg amy th rough out the en tire Churc h, even th ough th e word ing of the two statements was
A student at B righam Youn g Univ ersity, mak ing a study of som e aspects o f polyga my in M exico, rec ently
wrote me ask ing if there w as any tru th to t h e r u m or th a t m y father had asked Pr esident Sm ith, at the time his
Manife sto was issued, to give him a written statement that polygamy in Mexico was prohibited. As far as any
member of our family knows, no such statement was ever requested.
Circumstances have made it desirable for the officials of the Church to make several statements on the subject
of plural m arriages w ithin the Ch urch sinc e the Sm ith Manifesto. Reference has already been made to one
such statement in pamplet form. Another was made by George Albert Smith, then President, at the General
Conference, October 5, 1947. In his speech at the Sunday afternoo n session of that conference, President
Smith referred to the Woodruff Manifesto, quoting that part which has already been quoted herein, and then
going on to say , “That w as the actio n of the Church at that time. The practice of plural marriage ceased
because the government of the Un ited States forbade it.” And continuing, he said, “From then until now there
has been little said by us, and now, after these years, I would like to say from that time on, approx imately
fifty years, there have been no plural marriages solemnized in violation of the laws of this land by the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ... If you hear anybody say that the leadership of the Chu rch is not i n
harmony with the Manifesto of Wilford Woodruff as sustained by the Church, then you may know that he
is mistaken .”
Without specifically so stating, these pronouncements by Church leaders have implied that plural marriages
were never sanctioned after the Woodruff Manifesto. The words of President George Albert Smith, “The
practice of plural marriage ceased because the governm ent of the United States forbade it” seems more than
an implication that all plural marriages in the Church ceased in 1890, “approximately fifty years” before
When I saw the re port of this sp eech in th e daily Salt Lake papers, I addressed a letter to the First Presidency
of the Church, calling attention to the plural marriages that had taken place in Mexico between the years 1897
and 1904. I voiced the opinion that statements declaring that no such marriages had been sanctioned by the
Church did a great injustice to hundreds of children born of polygamous parents during that period. I further
stated that I was certain that the Church presidents and members of the Co uncil of Twelve Apostles were
fully aware of the p lural marriages w hich were solem nized in Me xico, and gav e full approval to these